Sunday, 20 January 2013

vocabulix - a verb conjugation tool

Yesterday, during a break from marking AS German essays, I discovered vocabulix.

Vocabulix is a website which offers free online German and Spanish lessons.

The part of the site which caught my eye was the verb tables. Here you can find full conjugations of all the German and Spanish verbs in any tense you could possibly ever need.

It's ideal for students looking up or checking a verb and also a good point of reference for any learner or teacher of Spanish or German.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

So hungry you could eat a horse?

This week it was discovered that some beefburgers sold by some Tesco, Lidl, Aldi and Iceland supermarkets in the UK and Ireland contained traces of pork and horse.

Apart from Kenneth Williams's character, J. Peasmould Gruntfuttock, in the 1960s radio comedy, Round the Horne, who regularly mentioned his purchases from "the horse meat shop in the Balls Pond Road", I've never heard anyone in Britain mention eating horse meat.

(As a child I'd heard stories that the French ate horse meat but from a nation whose staple diet is frogs legs and snails, it hardly surprised me.)

If you really want to know why the Brits are revolted by the idea of eating horse flesh there is a good BBC article here and Peter Lund Simmons 1859 book, The curiosities of food contains lots of information about the French and their love of horse meat.

This got me thinking about how this story was reported around the world, so here are some links to reports I found which could be used with students:


L'express has a great article (and links to horse-recipes)

Ouest-France takes the view that it is a terrible thing because consumers wanted beef but got pork and horse.

L'Orient was more worried that the burgers contained pork which some religions are not permitted to eat.


Spiegel concentrates more on the German companies, Aldi and Lidl, involved.

Die Welt has the same slant but also has a photo of a man with a big knife and a horse. has a brilliant sensationalist headline: Schwindel bei Tesco!


I chose this from diarriocorreo in Peru because in South and Central America eating horses is quite common.

El pais reports that Ireland blames Spain for the fiasco.

El mundo presents a more factual report.

So there you go.

Finally here is a French website full of recipes for the novice hippophagist.

Personally, I wouldn't ask for a horseburger, but if something tastes really good, does it matter what's in it?

Bon appétit!

Friday, 11 January 2013

News 4 Kids in German.

Last summer I published a post containing links for articles I was going to use as extra reading for my Year 12 AS German class. 

Recently I discovered News4kids a news website designed specifically for German speaking children. 

It's quite similar to 1 jour 1 actu only not in French.

The site is easy to navigate and has 4 sections.

- short news articles on a variety of topics written in an easy to understand unpatronising way. The articles are categorised into 4 main areas: Mensch und Natur, Gesellschaft, Technik, and Kultur.  I just used an article from last summer's Olympics with my group.

2)  Wissen 

- articles about many interesting things which are not really news stories. For example this story about conditions for scientists working in the Antarctic.

3) Mitmachen 

- stories with opportunities for readers participate and to give their own opinions about certain topics. Here is an article and discussion on whether animals should be performing in a circus. 

- a section with online games, puzzles and film and book reviews and links to other sites. 

I really like this site as it is updated regularly and I can always find something for my students which is relevant to their programme of study.

I use the articles as general reading, but I also make gapfill worksheets and reading comprehensions with them, too.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

ICT and Languages Conference 2013 #ililc3

Happy New Year!

2012 was a great year for me - I met a lot of new languages people both virtually and in real life, learned some new teaching techniques and tools, the BBC recorded more of my comedy radio scripts and I finally got to meet one of my heroes.

However, I guarantee that 2013 will be even better!

And what could be better than the ICT and Languages Conference 2013 #ililc3 at the University of Southampton?

It's a 2 day event on the 9th and 10th of February. The keynote speakers are Joe Dale and Isabelle Jones and over the 2 days there will be workshops delivered by some amazing practitioners including: Samantha Lunn, Lisa Stevens, Jo Rhys-Jones, Jen Turner, Clare Seccombe, Amanda Salt, and John Connor.

I shall also be leading 2 workshops: From Squawk to Talk and Motivating 6th form students.(I'll post my workshop materials when they're finished)

On the Saturday evening the MFL Show and Tell will take place at Jurys Inn Hotel, Southampton.

The Show and Tell is a free event where teachers are encouraged to sign up and present for a few minutes about the good things which are happening in their own classrooms.

So sign up and come along. It will be amazing!